Monday, December 19, 2011

Perfect Christmas Gift: Homemade Apple Butter

'Tis the season for homemade gifts, right!?!?

Well, only if you are as crazy as I am. Most normal people go out and buy candy, chocolates, and gifts to give to loved ones. 

I just happen to be one of those people that don't quite have enough on my plate. As if having three jobs and growing a baby weren't enough for one person, I decided to give 'canning' or rather 'jarring' a try.  

And this was after struggling with broken Christmas lights that resulted in stomping, a Christmas tree falling on top of me, and whining like a baby. I'm not proud; just demonstrating that anyone can make this Homemade Apple Butter no matter what state of mind you may be in.
I had apples from my honey's mom's apple tree; 10 pounds to be exact and I pulled together a rather delicious Homemade Apple Butter recipe if I do say so myself.

I used baking Splenda for most of the sugar, but added some brown sugar to make the butter thicken and in reality the only really time consuming part was the actual 'canning'. It only took me so long becuase my pot only held five jars and I did twenty.

The Apple Butter turned out thick, tart, and absolutly delicious! I recommend spreading this on fresh toasted whole wheat english muffins which are my absolute favorite!

The perfect, thoughtful gift for neighbors, co-workers, friends, and relatives! I am planning to hand them out to everyone!

I hope you are enjoying your holiday season!

On with the recipe and some helpful tips! 

What you may want to help this process:

~Half pint jars, lids, and screw rings
~Canning lifter and funnel
~Large stock pot for boiling
~Metal grate that fits in the bottom of your stock pot
~Food processor

Homemade Apple Butter

8 Pounds Apples
2 Cups Apple Cider
1 Cup Water
2 Cups Baking Splenda
1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Ground Ginger
2 tsp. Nutmeg
1. Wash and slice apples away from their cores leaving the skin on. Chop into 4-6 pieces for each apple. Then place all apples in a large stock pot over medium-high heat with the apple cider and water. Allow to cook for 20-30 minutes or until the apples begin to break down and become mushy.
2. Place the cooked apples into a food processor, in small batches, and process until smooth; approximately 30-60 seconds. 
3. Transfer all processed apples into a large pot over medium heat and add the splenda, brown sugar, cinnamon, ground ginger, and nutmeg. Stir to combine and cook until the mixture bubbles; about 15-20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, prepare your jars and lids by cleaning them with soap and water and heating them in a hot water bath. Then place hot water in your canning pot and begin heating the water over high heat.
5. Once the apple butter has thickened slightly so it sticks to the back of a spoon and is bubbling, begin funneling into your jars. Remove any air bubbles in the jars by gently hitting the bottom of the jar against the counter or using a spoon to smooth the top. Leave anout a half and inch on the top of each jar. Place the suction lid and screw the rim tightly to seal. Repeat this for each jar. Then place each filled jar into the bubbling water and allow to boil for 10-15 minutes. Make sure the water is boiling for at least 10 minutes. 
6. Once the jars have been submerged in bubbling water for at least 10 minutes remove each one with tongs or a canning lift and allow to sit out and cool for at least 45 minutes to an hour. 

Makes 20 Half Pint Jars

Each jar contains 20 1 Tbsp. servings.

Nutritional Skinny (per 1 Tbsp. serving):

4.3 calories / 0 g fat / 1 g carbohydrates / .1 g fiber / 0 g protien

Mental Health Benefit: If you aren't into jarring and all that boiling and trouble, you can simply freeze this recipe and store it that way. It will last about 6 months in the freezer and exponentially longer in the 'jarring' method. Also you can easily half or even quarter this recipe if you don't want to make quite as much! I made the jars Christmas cute with some cut fabric from the fabric store and holiday ribbon. Simple!

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